How to Prep Your Commercial Utility Vehicle for the Spring Work Season

Polaris UTV in garage

All-terrain utility vehicles (UTVs) have become important transport units and even tool carriers on all types of jobsites, filling in for pickup trucks and other machines. Engineered with a tow hitch, winch, PTO- or hydraulic-powered attachments, cargo beds, tool racks, telematics and way more, UTVs can find work on farms, construction sites, rental lots, parks, universities and beyond. While many of these commercial UTVs are used year-round, some are stored for the winter. Either way, the coming of spring signals a good time for maintenance to prepare them for the long summer days on duty.

It’s always important for your vehicle to be in good, clean working order, and spring is a great time to go through the owner’s and service manuals to refresh yourself on the pre-ride checklist and maintenance intervals, says Kyle Crosley, director at Polaris Commercial. “Customers should proactively complete their next big service interval in the spring to keep them riding into the warmer months with the vehicle in peak condition.”

Two Quick Spring Prep Utility Vehicle Check Lists


Kyle Crosley, director for Polaris Commercial, offers a standard pre-ride checklist after long-term storage of gas and diesel models, with the added suggestion to follow the owner’s manual. Check the…

  • Air filter
  • Steering system
  • Front/rear suspension
  • Tires
  • Wheels/lug nuts
  • Headlights/taillights
  • Brake system
  • Frame/body fasteners
  • Engine oil level
  • Throttle
  • Seat belts
  • Coolant level
  • Parking brake
  • Vehicle debris

The pre-ride checklist is similar for electric UTVs and includes:

  • Charge status
  • Brake fluid
  • Front and rear suspension
  • Steering
  • Tires
  • Wheels/lug nuts
  • Indicator lights/switches
  • Headlights
  • Brake lights/taillights
  • Seat belts
  • Vehicle debris
  • Lock adjustable steering wheel

Check the Battery, Air Filter, Tires and More

Bobcat utility vehicle maintenance

For UTVs that have been in storage, Jacob Mandoza, senior product manager of utility vehicles with Kubota Tractor Corp., says it’s important to inspect the battery to ensure it’s fully charged and free from leaks. “Additionally, cleaning the terminals with a wire brush will help establish a strong electrical connection.”

Polaris utility vehicles have fully enclosed cab kits that include heat and defrost. Crosley says many of their commercial customers therefore use the Pro XD year-round. “Attachments like plow systems make it particularly useful in snowy, cold-weather climates,” he says. However, he adds, “if you do decide to store it, there a few pre- and post-storage recommendations.”

Polaris recommends charging the battery on gas and diesel Pro XD models, if necessary. In addition, Crosley suggests filling the fuel tank and performing routine daily pre-ride inspections. “No extra measures are required if the vehicle has been in storage.” For the electric Pro XD Kinetic UTV, Crosley says the only unique check required after storage is to charge the battery for 24 hours before initial use. This will allow enough time for optimal battery cell balance to be restored.

Next, it’s wise to check the air filter. “Air filters can get dirty from the prior year’s use and will negatively impact your vehicle’s performance and engine quality, so it’s important to make sure you have a clean air filter installed,” advises Eric Halfman, go-to-market manager for John Deere. To maximize the lifespan of your tires, Mandoza urges regular inspections of tire pressures and tread condition. “Cracks or flat spots indicate the need for immediate tire replacement.”

John Deere High-End Signature Edition Gator Utility Vehicles

Make sure your tires are aligned and have sufficient tread, Halfman adds. “Check your lights to ensure each one is functioning correctly. And for your brakes, be certain your brake pads and brake fluids are ready for the upcoming year.” In addition to thoroughly examining the brakes to ensure they are working effectively, take the time to inspect and replace any faulty lights. These are all safety issues as well as performance concerns.

Halfman also recommends keeping the UTV free of dirt and debris, which could do harm to the suspension system or brake capabilities. Finally, he says, “If you don’t want to do the work yourself or don’t have the time, make sure to call a John Deere dealer, and they can work on your John Deere Gator utility vehicle to help you be ready to run this spring.”

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Fluid Fills for UTV Maintenance

Changing the oil regularly

“As for your oil, it’s a thing too often overlooked,” Halfman observes. Changing the oil regularly helps to ensure both the engine and the transmission operate at peak levels. “First and foremost, it’s important to review your UTV owner’s manual for fluid specifications. That way you’re aware of the oils you need to better lubricate, cool and protect your vehicle.” Primary use and location will ultimately be the determining factor in whether or not full synthetic or a summer blend is ideal for your UTV.

When checking and replacing fluids at the intervals outlined in the owner’s manual, Mandoza recommends paying particular attention to the engine oil as well as the oil and air filters. “By doing so, you can ensure your vehicle runs at its best.” It’s important to remember to check hydraulic fluid levels in diesel machines that feature a variable hydrostatic transmission. Finally, Mandoza says, “to ensure optimal engine performance during the spring and summer months, it is advisable to fill your vehicle with clean fuel.”

Gas vs. Diesel vs. Battery

Kubota UTV

Deere’s Halfman believes that gas and diesel machines function similarly enough that maintenance is near-identical: test the timing of belts and chains, replace any worn items and address any additional concerns. “As for batteries,” he says, “making sure they’re fully charged and providing the expected runtime is key.”

Mandoza suggests checking the glow plugs on diesel machines and considering replacing the spark plugs on gas units. “For battery-powered UTVs, it is recommended to keep them plugged in during the winter months to maintain the battery’s performance, but it is always best to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for storing these vehicles.”

Cab Off or On for Spring and Summer UTV Work?

Kioti’s K9 2400

Storage can work for the warmer seasons, as well. Cab designs have made significant progress, enabling easy attachment and detachment of cab components. Many cabs are designed to remove doors or other components during the warmer months. They also have features that enhance the versatility of the machine, like tip-out or flip-down windshields. Most doors will have windows that can be adjusted to increase airflow in the cabin as well.

If you purchase a machine that comes with a cab from the factory, it oftentimes also features heating and AC so you can maximize comfort inside the cabin, regardless of the season, according to Mandoza. He says customers who are using the machines on a regular basis in a geography that has multiple seasons or exceptionally hot summers or cold winters tend to purchase these units. “Additionally, these units are great for customers where comfort is the utmost importance.”

A few simple hand tools are all that’s required to remove the doors of the Polaris Pro XD. “This means they can be stored for summer months to maximize airflow,” Crosley explains, adding that the doors are easy to put back on for the winter months so they can retain heat in the cab with the Pro Shield Cab System.

Owners today utilize utility vehicles with cabs and without. “It really depends on the climate they are in,” Halfman believes. He lists two types of cabs: soft side or poly and hard-sided cabs. They have windows that can open on the doors. Some have rear sliding windows, as well. Even the front windshield can be opened on them. He points out that on a utility vehicle, most users will leave the cab on if they buy one. If they don’t need a cab, they typically will buy a utility vehicle without one.

First Spring UTV Operation Tips

John Deere UTV

When it comes to starting up a UTV for the first time in the spring, whether you are a novice operator or a seasoned driver, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with the equipment and its functionalities. “This knowledge will aid in the safety of all drivers,” Kubota’s Mandoza states. “When entering a new season, spend some time refamiliarizing yourself with the machine at low speeds [starting, stopping, turning] to become more comfortable driving in those conditions. Remember to always wear a seat belt and helmet for added protection.”

While not required, it’s wise to complete recommended training courses in order to understand the vehicle and how to safely operate it. In addition, before each ride, complete the pre-ride checklist. “Never drive outside your abilities, always be aware of your surroundings and enjoy the ride,” Crosley cautions.

If you’re a first-time UTV operator, Halfman’s best advice is to speak with your local dealer. “They can help educate you on the dos, don’ts and otherwise general understanding of proper use of your utility vehicle, including safety tips.”

Lori Lovely is a freelance writer for Compact Equipment.

Club Car’s Electric Urban UTVs

Club Car UTV
Following the acquisition of Garia and Melex in early 2022, Club Car has been steadily growing its line of electric utility vehicles.

Last year, Club Car launched the Urban LSV and XR that are now available through its commercial distributor network in North America. The new Urban platform expands Club Car’s leading electric vehicle portfolio, which has been prominent in commercial markets for decades. Featuring automotive styling, ergonomic design, a top speed of 25 mph and the ability to customize the vehicle for specific needs, the new Club Car Urban brings a unique utility vehicle solution addressing needs for large campuses, last mile delivery, municipalities and other commercial sectors. The Club Car Urban comes as a street legal vehicle with the Urban LSV providing a top speed of 25 mph and a non-street legal vehicle option with the Urban XR providing a top speed of 19 mph. The Club Car Urban is offered with a pickup bed or van box while customers can choose the features and options that meet their needs such as different heater options, Bluetooth stereo, in cab refrigerator, first aid kit and fire extinguisher. To learn more about Club Car Urban, visit

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